If Quentin Tarantino had truly been anxious about the Jewish response to his Nazi-bashing extravaganza Inglourious Basterds, then the reception at the Israeli premiere Tuesday night should at least have guaranteed him a good night's sleep.
The audience waited inside the movie theater for more than an hour before Tarantino, producer Lawrence Bender and the sublime, Oscar-deserving, movie-stealing polyglot Christoph Waltz made their entrance. The excitement level can be judged by the fact that there was very little complaining, shouting or seat-shifting - all standards of the Israeli movie-going experience.
Tarantino's exuberant introduction (see below) was perfectly pitched at Israelis, many of whom can name the family members who perished in the Holocaust. The "chapters" of the movie showing Nazi-scalping, baseball bat-wielding Jews instilling fear into the hearts of the German army (and Hitler), as well as the bloodbath finale, elicited cheers and hearty rounds of applause, and the man himself won a standing ovation as the end credits rolled.
This is not an historically correct representation of World War II. The Jews, with one expertly acted, filmed and directed exception at the start, are powerful and masters of their own destinies, and the climax of the movie is pure Jewish fantasy. But no one goes to see a Tarantino movie to learn about historical facts.
Like Madonna and her devotion to all things kosher, Tarantino's latest movie should ensure him a warm welcome in the Jewish state, now and for many years to come.
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